27 September 2013

Several (More) Surprisingly Effective Things You Can Say

This post is "inspired" by this post of (almost) the same title, in which the four surprisingly effective things to say were as I recall: I'm sorry, I was wrong, I need help, and Faster, twerp.  Yeah right I know, that's what I thought.  Here then are some other simple statements that are surprisingly – nay stunningly, almost inexplicably – effective, depending of course on your purpose, on who you're talking to and on the way you say it.

"Get off!"  Say this when something is on you or someone or something else you want them to get off of.  Makes people get off almost anything.  Telling someone to get off something is empowering and restructures the relationship.

"To go."  This is surprisingly effective at encouraging takeout joints to box and bag your meal for easy portability.  The key is open and honest communication of your needs to a sympathetic co-listener.  Ask for what you want. Don't be bullied or emotionally manipulated into 'For here' any longer.

"That's it mother&!$(@#, it's on like Donkey Kong."  Use when someone cuts on you in line or steals a table you had eyes on at an open-air cafetorium, takes the last waffle or starts getting it on with your significant other like you're not even sitting there.

"Noooooooo!" Actually this one is surprisingly effective only due to the double negative effect, i.e. it is unsurprisingly ineffective, as it is generally used when there is no hope of the thing stopping, e.g. under torture, during plummeting or tiger attack, etc.

"If it ain't the carnival, it's the sarcophagus."  Use anytime.  Stops conversations in seconds.  Kills small talk dead.  Amazingly effective, results guaranteed or your money back.  Order now and receive at no additional cost the phrase 'cheese prize massacre award anniversary giveaway tragedy', which starts conversations but only with the interesting, while effectively driving away the boring and the insufferable.

"It’s all your fault." This one effectively rankles just about anybody, especially if it really was all their fault.  They may try to deflect some of the blame onto others but don't you let them, make it clear that it was totally their fault, that you are rubber and they are glue (another relatively effective utterance btw), &c.

Enough joke-like things on this subject, gotta get dinner on before the kids get home.  Please use our proprietary "Comment Box" technology to share, from your personal experience or imagination, more surprisingly effective things to say.  Let's all chip in our two cents to help make each other more effective communicators, for the good of each and every one of all of us. Amen.


  1. Thanks this explains so much, even though it brings up some painful memories.

    BTW, what's your take on "I made a mistake. I'm sorry"? Mark of honesty and integrity or simpering spinelessness?

  2. Thank you for your comment and excellent question. It seems clear enough in the view of this sentience that "I made a mistake, I'm sorry" is generally an admirable sentiment and can in practice be quite effective, depending on context of course, and on the way you say it. However it did not qualify for this list due to the lack of a surprise element, that is to say, the committee considered the problem at length and ultimately found the utterance's efficacy utterly unsurprising.


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